What Hypnobirthing Mums Say...

We were a couple of weeks away from our due date (for our first baby) when we decided to try hypnobirthing and signed up for Nissa’s long course at our flat over two evenings. It was an incredible experience. For the first time Nissa encouraged us to think about what we really wanted from the birth, to be honest about our anxieties and focus on our hopes. She was deeply informed and articulate, funny, encouraging, and had the most wonderful energy that helped us relax, open up and be positive.

The result was that we decided on a home birth and felt totally empowered and excited about the birth for the first time. My husband ended up delivering our baby himself at home as she came rather more quickly than we expected - we used the hypnobirthing techniques Nissa taught us throughout and we would have been lost without them! Nissa is a true gem and I would encourage any parents out there to get her involved. We still see her now and consider her to be baby Artemis’s guardian angel.
— Molly & Yanni parents to Artemis.
I have a happy announcement for you, although you are probably expecting it... When you said on Sunday that you thought it would happen that evening, you were bang on! Our gorgeous Rufus arrived that night after a surprisingly short labour. So here’s my positive birth story!

As you know, I began to get very mild surges at around 7am on Sunday morning. Period-cramp-like sensations across the bottom half of my bump, and moving into my lower back. I knew these were signs of early labour, but I also knew these could go on for several days, so I decided to ignore them and get on with things. I was far too sceptical to believe it was early labour so I didn’t really treat it as such. I had very much resigned myself to the idea that I would go past my due date, and I was only 39 +3!

So off we went in the car to meet our mums for lunch out of town. I was just going to have to grin and bear those crampy sensations, as there was no way I was going to let on to them what was happening! The pressure of them expecting a baby straight away was not what I wanted at all. Thankfully, the sensations weren’t that strong so they didn’t show - or at least I thought they didn’t. According to Ben, when I went to the loo my mum said she thought there was “something different about me today” - damn that pesky mother’s intuition!!

When we got home that afternoon, I persuaded Ben to drive me to your relaxation class. It literally could not have come at a better time!! And it must have worked a treat, as my surges definitely began to get stronger during our Power Ball meditation - and I think you noticed!

I walked home (as you had helpfully reminded me that a walk is a good idea!), and Ben ran me a bath with some clary sage drops - it was potent stuff! We only put 4 drops in but the smell filled the room and I felt instantly relaxed. Ben is convinced it was the clary sage that kept my labour short. It’s possible I suppose - as soon as I was out of the bath my surges became more intense and frequent.

By 6 o’clock, my surges were about 5 minutes apart. It was only at this point I was willing to admit that labour was actually happening! At 7pm, Ben rang the delivery suite at Homerton to let them know that my surges were about 3-4 minutes apart. As expected, we were advised to wait this out another two hours before coming in. My waters had not broken, and there had not been much of a ‘show’ yet. Ben served up a delicious pasta bake for dinner and we watched some Seinfeld while I sat on the birthing ball and fiddled with the TENS machine. I had envisaged listening to my playlists and Suzy’s mp3’s throughout my latent phase, but I guess this phase had already happened and it seemed there wasn’t really enough time!

As 9pm approached I was convinced we needed to get in the car and go. I seemed to get a surge every time I moved! We gathered everything up and got in the car - but not without surging on the stairs down to the front door!

All my worries about trying to get to hospital through rush hour traffic, struggling to find a parking spot, and being told there were no birth centre rooms available were subsequently allayed. It was smooth sailing all the way - in fact the birth centre seemed completely empty. All was calm and quiet up there, and at no point was the home-to-hospital transition in any way stressful for me. My surges didn’t even slow down as we’d been told might happen.

Once in the room, the lovely midwife, Adelaide, inspected my cervix to find I was already 6cm dilated, and as she did this, my waters broke. My surges were coming thick and fast now, with very little respite, and getting more and more intense each time. The next thing I knew, I was reeling from gas and air, mumbling something about feeling drunk. I hated it and loved it all at the same time - so of course I kept it up!

I remember snippets of conversation as Ben discussed my birth preferences with Adelaide, but that time was basically a blur as I breathed through my surges, and the next thing I knew I was demanding to get in the pool - and when I did it felt amazing.

Things were progressing so quickly, I think even Adelaide was surprised. But not once did she show any sign of concern or panic. She was calm and encouraging the whole way. By 11pm I was having strong urges to bear down, and I started to go from growling through each surge to screaming into my gas and air mouthpiece after deep breaths in. This surprises me now, as I didn’t have myself down as a screamer! And it wasn’t out of panic or fear, just a way of focusing my energy through each intense surge. I recall Ben telling me over and over again to do the ‘Darth Vader’ Breathing, but it just didn’t happen. I had to let what came naturally to me flow.

Ben tells me Adelaide predicted another hour of this, but only 40 minutes later Rufus came out. Help was called as his body was floppy, but he began to cry just as they were taking him out the room. Meanwhile Adelaide calmly explained to me this can sometimes happen when babies arrive so quickly and kept telling me she can hear him crying and that all is well, so I wasn’t too panicky - I was just stunned at what had just happened.

He was brought back to me for a cuddle and for the doctor to examine him (all good), while I birthed the placenta naturally, about ten to 15 minutes later.

Although I had no perineal tearing (amazing! Thank you perineal massage!!) I did have some small labial tears that needed stitches, as well as some clots that needed removing. This was all a bit unexpected but the staff were so efficient and kind and it was all over an hour later, and I got given some tea and toast - which I ate as if I’d never eaten before - while staring in astonishment at our new baby, who only hours before had been curled up inside me.

Although things probably happened too rapidly for me to be the perfect hypnobirthing student throughout, there was not a single moment when I felt worried, or fearful, or panicky. It all felt like precisely what was supposed to happen, I truly did have faith in my body to do it. It was astonishingly intense, but never traumatic. I completely owe this to hypnobirthing, Suzy’s book and mp3s and your course, Nissa. Thank you so much.
— Holly & Ben parents to Rufus
Just wanted to let you and the rest of the group know that we had our little boy on Weds 6th July at 7.55pm (39 weeks) The birth was text book, thanks I am sure to being super relaxed and using the hypno-birthing tools we learned, esp the breathing through the surges. So much so that when we arrived at the birth centre at 3pm much to everyone’s surprise I was 9.5cm dilated. It also really helped relaxing in the am watching a film and we went for a huge brunch in vicky park returning home at around 2pm when the surges were coming quite thick and fast and I was stopping and holding onto Dario as we walked home. Also playing the relaxation mp3s during the early stages of labour in the pool really helped me get into my zone. I was so shocked that in the end I didn’t even need gas and air.

I think at some point in the pool I said sooooo when am I getting gas and air? and they suggested as I was doing so well guiding the surges that would only slow things down...What about transition, I will def need it then? I said...then they replied you passed that ages ago! In the end I needed to get out of the pool it was too warm and I felt that I wanted to get active trying various different birthing positions and so we had our baby on one of the birthing mats with me on all fours and arms wrapped around Dario who was sat on a chair. When Tristan was born I was able to turn around and then pick him up from the mat and we were both able to give him lots of skin to skin.

Unfortunately though it was not all plain sailing and I had problems delivering the placenta so we had to go to the hospital that same evening. I will spare you the details but I had an opp to remove some bits that were still in the womb and I ended up having to have a spinal ...after all that : ( But the care we received was amazing and now we are home and starting to normalise as much as poss and get used to the sleep deprivation ; ) We are very much enjoying our gorgeous little boy Tristan, Nuno.

Just wanted to say thanks so much for all your help and esp helping me get over the fear of everything! It would be lovely to meet up with the group if anyone would like to. Very best of luck to you all and lots of love!
— Rosie & Dario parents to Tristan
When I fell pregnant it didn’t take long for me to start wondering how on earth I was going to get the baby out!! Squeamish and terrified of the idea of giving birth to the point where I had to turn away from the TV for the trailers of ‘One Born Every Minute’ long before I was pregnant. It’s fair to say my partner and I wondered if I’d ever be able to do it.

I heard friends talking about how Hypnobirthing had helped them during labour and I thought it was worth giving it a go – my view was anything I could learn that would help me along the way had to be worth it.

I attended Nissa’s weekend course a couple of months before my baby was due and I left feeling positive, relaxed and able to deal with the challenges that lay ahead of me. I put lots of ideas into practice straight away – I pinned positive affirmations all over the house, practiced the relaxation and breathing techniques regularly as well as getting my partner to practice the massage.

I woke up at 6.30am on Saturday morning four days before my due date with regular period pains – I thought that this might be the start of labour but I didn’t get stressed or flustered – I carried on my day, heading out for a leisurely walk and some lunch followed by a relaxing afternoon at home. The contractions were getting stronger throughout the day but I continued to relax, had a tuna pasta bake for dinner (something my partner always has before he runs a marathon!). Throughout the evening the contractions continued and I used the breathing techniques along with a tens machine. Once I had started to have three contractions every ten minutes my partner rang the hospital – they wanted me to wait a bit longer before I came in and as this point I started to get a bit stressed as I felt I was now ready to be near more pain relief should I need it. The stress caused my contractions to slow down. We did however head over to the hospital and we eventually got into a birthing suite – at which point I was seven centimetres dilated – with the baby still in its amniotic sack.


Once in the birthing suite my partner put on relaxing music and we dimmed the lights. I got into the birthing pool and stayed there for the next eight hours!! I had gas and air and was so relaxed I almost fell asleep between contractions. As I got closer to the transition my partner would push into the small of my back (one of the massage techniques taught by Nissa) during each contraction and this, along with a good dose of gas and air got me through the transition.

Finally my waters broke in the birthing pool and it was at that point the midwives realised the baby was breech. I had to get out of the pool and walk across to another room (I declined the use of a wheelchair!!) suddenly there were people all around me I was put on a bed with stirrups and told to push like I’d never pushed before. I knew as this point I was close to a c-section and after 32 hours of labour my stubborn side came out and I was determined to get the baby out myself – which I did. At 2.54pm on Sunday Jemima was born without any pain relief.

I was and still am so proud of myself as I managed to do something I didn’t think I had the courage to do. And I know it was learning the Hypnobirthing techniques that made it all possible - I can’t recommend the course highly enough. If you’re pregnant, I honestly think it’s a must.
— Rebecca & Iain parents to Jemima
I have been meaning to email you!! Sooo we had a baby BOY! George Anthony Leonard Herbert was born on 20/11/15 (on his due date!) we had a great labour - he was born into the water like we hoped for - only had gas and air - the back massages and lower back pressure worked an absolute treat! They helped so much!!!! Along with the scents and the candles - amazing! David was incredible and such a great support - he remembered everything we had been practising and did such a great job!

Thank you so much for giving us the tools to deal with a life changing experience and making it a positive one! I feel so lucky to be able to look back on birthing George and think to myself, I could do it again! And it’s true what they say about hypnobirthing babies... He is soooo chilled!!!
— Sarah & David parents to George
I cannot recommend hypnobirthing with The Hypnobirthing Midwife enough. Nissa marries the best of hypnobirthing techniques - breathing, visualisation, massage and so on - with a realistic approach to labour, helping you to prepare for its good and not-so-good sides. She does it all with infectious calm and enthusiasm that will leave you excited for the big day (or days!).

I had been planning an intervention free home birth for my first labour in June 2015. Unfortunately luck / fate / science / my body (who knows?!) had other ideas. Suffice it to say that I went beyond overdue, laboured for a few days, before ending up with an emergency Cesaerean. We met our beautiful and very healthy baby girl on 3rd July. Whilst this clearly wasn’t the birth experience we’d been hoping for, Nissa’s hypnobirthing techniques helped me to remain calm and focussed throughout. They stopped me from panicking when things didn’t go to plan. And perhaps most importantly they helped me to come to terms with a difficult birth. Hypnobirthing isn’t just about ohmming in a birthing pool whilst your baby floats ecstatically and painlessly into the world (although I still firmly believe it can help you to do that too!) - it’s about equipping you with the tools you need to labour like a champion, regardless of what the experience throws at you.
— Amelia (midwife) & Gareth parents to Ernestine
I found the classes really helpful, you are such a ray of positive sunshine and have a lovely energy which I was grateful to have been around in my pregnancy.

I had been so keen to have a home birth as you know, however I found some of appointments with NMH midwives a bit tricky. I met with the consultant midwife at 36 weeks who advised against a home birth due to high blood pressure readings and my high heart rate.

I managed to labour mainly at home and was in hospital for less than an hour before baby arrived. I used the breathing exercises that you taught me.. breathe in 1234 out 12345678 for EVERY SINGLE contraction and only had gas and air for the last 10 minutes of the labour. I found that breathing technique the most helpful tool in labour. It gave me something to focus on. I literally don’t know how I would have managed without it.

I also printed out some of the positive affirmations as you suggested and posted them around my bedroom.. that really helped with keeping positive. I remember at one point feeling that I couldn’t do it and reading each one out which made me feel better.

I can’t thank you enough.
— Kelly & Dan
Nissa, please can we take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you for coming to our home yesterday evening and talking us through hypnobirthing. The information you have provided us with was both clear and informative and both myself and Mike now feel we have a better understanding of what hypnobirthing involves and feel much better prepared for the birth.

Mike especially felt surprised to learn that hypnobirthing wasn’t as ‘whacky’ as the name might suggest! He also found the teaching more practical than NCT and now has a much clearer understanding of what his role will be in labour and we have you (and a better understanding of hypnobirthing) to thank for that.
— Anna (midwife) & Mike
As a community midwife, Nissa arrived to our house in the early hours on a cold January Monday to help me with the birth of my daughter. Even though we had not met before, her calm and supportive approach helped me relax and feel completely in control of my labour. Nissa encouraged me to listen to my body and follow what it told me to do – my daughter was born soon after, which felt like an amazing achievement. My birthing experience is now a special memory, treasured by me and my husband and its story will be told many times to our daughter and son.
— Agnieska
Our baby girl was born at St. Thomas hospital, 5:54am on 15th January 2015. This is our second child and we were fortunate again to have a straight forward delivery. Contractions started four hours before and within the second hour, we left for the hospital. Nissa met us at the hospital and very promptly organised the last room and only working birthing pool for us before we met her. She was calm in the process and instilled confidence in us throughout the process. She had also asked if I wanted to deliver the baby myself and I surprisingly said ‘yes!’. We felt that we were in control of ourselves and the whole birthing experience. Nissa kept open dialogues with us to ensure that we were part of the process. We thank you Nissa for helping us deliver our beautiful baby Eleanor.
— Gin